Surrey preteen Ali Naqib was so excited about his field trip to TELUS World of Science, he vlogged about it on a Youtube account otherwise dedicated to his travels, some pranks and soccer games.
The tech-savvy Grade 6-er, a student at W.E. Kinvig Elementary in Newton, has twice joined classmates at the ball-shaped Vancouver landmark, widely known as Science World.
His most recent time there, last fall, the best part for Ali was learning to use a thermal camera that showed all the hot and cold points of the human body.
“We learned about how the body works,” raved Ali, 11. “We went with our whole class, about 20 kids, and a couple other school classes too. I’d love to go back, definitely.”
An 11-minute video he posted in November shows him and his classmates roaming around Science World, and ends with Ali’s thoughts about the adventure while on the bus trip back home.
As part of a bursary program launched by operators of Science World, more students at “under-served” schools in Surrey and other areas of Metro Vancouver are now able to visit the facility on class field trips.
This year, to offset the typical trip cost of around $1,000, Ali was among close to 2,000 students from 27 Surrey-area schools to benefit from the program, launched in 2017.
Since then, more than 18,000 students in this region have visited Science World as part of its Class Field Trip Bursary initiative.
Jonathan Moore, Ali’s teacher at W.E. Kinvig, said the program has greatly benefited the school.
“For a lot of students, they just couldn’t get down there otherwise, so it’s a special trip,” Moore said. “The program helps so much, it’s fantastic, wonderful. It’s super helpful to get us out there, to get grants to be able to get there. Kids are so excited to go to a place like that. It’s just a very positive experience.”
Most of the money for the program is raised through Science World’s largest fundraising event, Science of Cocktails, an annual party that has collected close to $946,000 over the past four years.
The event in 2020 is set for the night of Thursday, Feb. 6, with tickets (priced at $125, or $225 for VIP) available starting this fall. The soirée features an open bar with more than 25 stations “serving unique cocktails crafted by Vancouver’s best bartenders,” as well as “access to a variety of special cocktail science activities, hands-on demos and Science World programming.”
Kate Henderson, manager of school engagement with Science World, said the fundraising event and bursary program resulted from research that found school field trips to the facility are valuable for students, but transportation costs are sometimes prohibitive.
Bus travel can account for more than half of a field trip’s total cost, Henderson said.
“It’s one thing for parent drivers to take students on a field trip, but we know that a bus trip can be part of the whole field-trip experience as well,” she noted.
“We know that Surrey school district has a huge number of schools, and the distance to Science World is relatively far,” Henderson added. “Every year we bring in more students from Surrey than any other district.”
For the next school year, bursary applications are welcomed starting in August, she said.
“Questions are filled out to help determine if a school qualifies, and the district has also given us a list of the most under-served schools,” Henderson said of the program, which grants admission and bus transportation.
This year Science World is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a “30 Years of Wonder” campaign, online at 30yearsofwonder.com.
The attraction on False Creek has welcomed more than 18 million visitors since it opened in 1989, three years following its use as Expo Centre during the Expo 86 fair.
Notable exhibitions over the years include Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body, Muppets, Monsters and Magic, The Science Behind Pixar and BODY WORLDS 3: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies.
“The not-for-profit has delivered impactful science programming to people all over the province through Scientists and Innovators in the Schools, Community Science Celebrations, On The Road, Future Science Leaders, BC Green Games and more,” says a press release.
The organization recently launched a new “Thriving Futures” strategy to reach its vision that within a generation, “Canada will be a country of thriving, sustainable communities rooted in science, innovation and a deep connection to nature,” according to the release.
“To accomplish this, they set out to scale education in STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design, and Math, that is built on three strategic pillars: creating a community hub for idea incubation and sharing, drastically scaling STEAM learning through a recently launched program called Symbiosis and continuing to deliver high-quality experiential learning.”